From “Bible Studies for Life” curriculum, LifeWay
Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
I come from a long line of worriers. My grandparents lived about an hour south of us. When we didn’t visit, they would worry.
When we told them we were coming for a visit, they would worry. While we were there, they would worry. When we left, they would worry and remind us of all of the terrible things that could happen to us during our highway travels back home. It was almost like worrying was their spiritual gift.
Worry comes natural for me. But that doesn’t make it right. I’m fighting to make sure that this family trait comes to an end. But how? There are a lot of right answers to that question, but none are more important than my relationship to God and his word.
A weapon against worry
Philippians 4:4-9 has been a big help for me in my battle against worry. I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on verse 6, where we are told to not be anxious about anything. Sometimes, even that hope-filled verse has made me a bit nervous. It is, after all, a command to not be anxious.
And so, I always approached this passage with somewhat of a legalistic mindset. Just stop worrying. Do it! Try harder! But then I realized that verse 6 does not stand alone. The real remedy comes as Paul continues his argument.
In verse 7 we learn that the peace of God stands guard at our hearts and minds. The heart and the mind are the two areas of our lives that are most prone to a visit from anxiety. But when this unwelcome guest stops by, he is greeted by his most hated weapon from his most hated enemy – the peace of God.
It is peace, not apathy, that is the opposite of anxiety. The answer to our worry is not found somewhere on a beach, thousands of miles from our nearest concern. Instead, it is God’s peace that protects us from worry. And the peace of God will be with you.
But that’s not all.
God with us
As I write this, I’m watching my son play soccer. Sometimes when I have to miss one of his games, I tell him that I’ll be cheering for him. I won’t be there but, through the magic of my phone, my cheers will be. But not today. Today, I am with him. I am present. I am watching.
God does not simply give us His peace to help us in our battles against panic and worry.
He gives us Himself.
In verse 9, Paul tells us that the God of peace will be with us. That’s a bit different from the peace of God. Believers do not just have God’s peace with them. We also have God Himself.
One of the major themes of scripture is God’s presence. In Genesis, that presence is broken. In Matthew, we are told of Immanuel, God with us. At the end of Matthew, Jesus promises to be with us always. And here in Philippians, we see that God really is with us, even in the depths of our darkest worries.
You are not alone in your anxiety.
I’m with you. And countless others are too. Trust me.
But more importantly, the God of peace is with you.
Christian, you can be anxious for nothing because the God of peace is with you in everything.